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DM News' Deliver: The Final Mile

That smiling mail carrier on DM News Deliver’s cover is the visible face of a complicated letter and package delivery business. But few know much of what it takes for the U.S. Postal Service to get that carrier’s bucket filled with letters and advertising mail. Not surprisingly, many marketers take for granted what is arguably an arduous postal delivery process.

So we thought it was important to acquaint our readers – who are key players in the $900 billion mailing business – with what happens from the time a mail piece is printed through to its arrival at the intended delivery destination.

Deliver is dedicated to spotlighting the delivery business. In addition to the USPS, we have updates from private-sector carriers DHL, UPS and FedEx. Senior editor Melissa Campanelli spared no effort to highlight what to expect from these four entities in the months ahead. Her reports, including a CEO Club special Q&A with Pitney Bowes president/COO Murray Martin, are a must-read for any marketer keen to be on top of things. Deliver is available in the March 27 issue of DM News and all pieces will appear on DMNews.com over the next several days

Also in the book are trends in order processing and fulfillment, tips to getting recipients to open a mail piece and advice on avoiding direct mail disasters. DHL’s work for Video Professor, a computer software tutorial firm selling via direct response television, makes an interesting case study. And don’t forget to read Canada Post Borderfree chief Patrick Bartlett’s case for U.S. marketers to enter the Canadian catalog and e-commerce market.

Anyone reading the interviews and commentary will notice that an area of focus is address quality. Postal officials have been saying that incorrectly addressed mail costs $2 billion a year. The USPS processed more than 216 billion pieces of mail last year, 9 billion of which were undeliverable as addressed. As the postal service’s George T. Hurst told us, “when it comes right down to it, there is still a lot of work that can be done on address quality.”

Also of interest to all is postal reform. The House and Senate have passed bills and now must iron out their differences. It has been reported several times that the Bush administration wants a “budget neutral” bill, which may require Congress to change provisions involving an escrow account and retirement benefits. The question is: How adamant is President Bush? In a speech before the National Newspaper Association this month, he said that he supports reform and wants to work with Congress on an acceptable bill but that he needs to know more of the particulars before he makes a commitment one way or the other.

Pitney Bowes’ Martin says reform would bring price stability and smaller, more predictable rate increases. Both are needed for the direct marketing industry to continue to grow.

The purpose of Deliver is to ensure you are up to speed with the latest developments and trends in the delivery business. And who better to explain than industry experts – those leading the changes and those adapting. We hope we have delivered.

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